Sushi BBQ – Cold Rice, Bad Service

Sushi BBQ

Sushi BBQ

I’m guilty of not trying new things out but after my experience last Monday, I see why. I had an eye appointment with Dr. F. Adatia in the SE and decided to give Sushi BBQ a try. What a mistake!

The All-U-Can-Eat lunch special is a decent $15 per person price. Nigiri sushi includes salmon, tuna, shrimp, masago and tamago (or egg). Kitchen dishes include chicken teriyaki, agedashi tofu, chicken karage, salmon teriyaki, etc. And they have pizza bites too. A slice of salmon on top of spicy shrimp on a fried rice ball. (It was not as good as it looked and it didn’t look so hot either)

Sad to say, the nigiri rice was cold. And the fried eel maki had a taste of moldy bread in it. When I complained to the waiter, he brought it in to the sushi chef for examination then he came back and told me it was fine. Did the chef try it himself? I doubt he did.

They also had a Korean cooktop and Korean meat for you to cook your own. If you decide to order that, make sure you give yourself plenty of time because you are allotted 1.5 hours to eat and get out.

The decor is run down and dirty. I was surprised not to see a cockroach here and there. The service was horrible and they wouldn’t serve you a free cup of hot water. Instead they gave us an excuse that they don’t have hot water on the premise. Interesting. They do serve hot tea, don’t they?

My advice: stay away.

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A Burst of Flavour?

Steak and Sushi

Steak and Sushi

When you talk about steak houses in Calgary, you don’t normally think of Joey’s at Barlow. But we made a mistake of booking a dinner reservation there last week and hoping for something else.

I haven’t been to Joey’s for some time but I used to order their ‘Burst’, a nice refreshing concoction made up of 7-up or Sprite and a scoop of blended fruit. It used to contain more chunks of fruit in it but now, it’s thin out like a lemonade. They give a free refill but after that, you have to buy a new drink. Be careful with that one. It’s not written anywhere and they assume you know.

The menu had changed over the years and the jambalaya that we had grown to love is now gone. In place of some fantastic dishes is now sushi. I usually don’t order Japanese food in a non-Japanese cuisine restaurant but I made an exception. I ordered the Steak and Sushi entree for $25, hoping it would fill my empty stomach but I am sorry to say that I was still hungry after the meal. The sushi was ok but I was really disappointed when I saw the steak. It was small to begin with but they served it sliced up. Perhaps if they left it whole, it might have lasted longer. When it’s cut up for you, it’s easy to count the number of pieces with just one hand.

JOEY Barlow on Urbanspoon

$20 for $40 worth of food?

Chicken Teriyaki

Chicken Teriyaki

I had a coupon to use up at Fuji Yama’s on 17th Avenue and 8th Avenue before it expired at the end of February. You know the type, pay $20 to get $40 worth of food. With this coupon, I had to give it to the hostess when I checked in. You also had to make reservations but I figured it was a good idea for a Friday night.

I have to admit that I’m always wary about giving up the coupon before ordering my food. How can I trust the restaurant? With a coupon at hand, would they cut back on my dish?

I ordered my usual which was the chicken teriyaki entree and a soft shell crab roll. My wife chose the salmon teriyaki and a sashimi salad. In my opinion, the teriyaki’s were worth the $13 – $15 price they charged. They were both tasty and satisfying.

The dinner  bill came out to a little over $50 for the two of us. With the $40 coupon, we paid $20 and walked out happy and stuffed. If you’re in the neighbourhood, call first and ask if they have any $20 for $40 gift cards left. If so, I would highly recommend that you buy them.
Fuji Yama on 17th on Urbanspoon

Hurray for Haru Sushi

Tempura and Teriyaki Lunch

Tempura and Teriyaki Lunch

Another craving for sushi this week led us to trying a new sushi restaurant in the SW. This time, we ventured past 69th Street in Springborough to Haru Sushi.

On the window, they advertise an incredible lunch deal. At $7, you get a plate of teriyaki chicken with a scoop of rice and vegetables. I wanted a little more food so I decided to choose the Tempura and Teriyaki Chicken lunch combo (pictured left).

Minutes after taking our order, a bowl of steaming miso soup was served. The soup was nicely seasoned and not at all salty like a lot of miso soup around town. The decor is pleasant with a silk cherry blossom tree hovering over us. Everything was decked out in expresso colour making the place pretty modern.

Haru Sushi is a classy Japanese restaurant with lots of booths and ambiance. The seating is comfortable and can easily accomodate larger groups. The service was excellent.

The lunch menu was impressive with sushi and sashimi choices as well as tempura and teriyaki combos, all averaging about $12 per plate. I had ordered a negi toro maki and was pleasantly impressed that they used whole chunks of tuna rather than a mash up. The sashimi slices were generous and fish was fresh. I found the tempura batter on the light side which is what I prefer, spring mix salad was fresh and dressing was delicious.

We will certainly return for dinner one day for great sushi and friendly service.

Haru Sushi Bar on Urbanspoon

Free parking is available up front as well as behind the restaurant but not on the streets. We will definitely return for dinner one day.

Misato’s for Lunch

Lunch Box at Misato's

Lunch Box at Misato’s

We used to go to Misato’s in Signal Hill a lot more but after their renovation last summer, we found they had jacked up their prices and hired more waitresses. When we used to go as often as we did, we started getting to know some of the servers but I can safely say, I don’t recognize any of them now. The sushi chefs behind the sushi bar are all familiar so I guess they kept the owners.

Misato’s serves very high quality sushi but you won’t find the exotic stuff here such as Uni (sea urchin), Bluefin Tuna, Belly Tuna or Blowfish. I don’t even know if I’ve seen Hamachi or Quail eggs on their menu.

Their signature roll here is the Calgary roll but I heard it’s over $22 now. I remembered it to be around $16 once upon a time. But as a signature roll, I guess they have the right to raise the price on us.

They are totally into presentation and not quantity. So if you’re looking for more quality and less quantity then Misato’s is your place. Pictured here is their lunch box. It’s very pretty but it’s more of an appetizer than a lunch meal. Luckily dinner was around the corner for me but if I had to go back to work, I would probably need something to tie me over. The tempura batter was nice and light. Salad with ginger dressing was nice. A few strands of edamame was a treat and a few slices of sashimi were excellent. A few more slices of teriyaki chicken would have nice or instead of bean sprouts, a bed of rice would had worked better. And the miso soup was not salty like a lot around town.
Misato Sushi & Grill on Urbanspoon

What’s Up? Wasabi

Lunch Box

Lunch Box

On our way to pick up snorkel gear, we stopped by Wasabi’s on 16th Avenue for lunch. We’ve been there for dinner a few times and liked the sushi and dinner specials but we really haven’t tried the lunch until now. They have about 6-7 items in the lunch box category ranging from $11.95 to $13.95, some had sushi and sashimi, others did not. The ones that did not have raw fish had teriyaki beef or chicken instead. All lunch boxes had tempura, salad and miso soup.

When my lunch box was served, I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of food and variety in their lunch boxes. For $12.95, there were 2 tempura shrimps, 2 pieces of veggies, 3 nigiri sushi, 3 california roll pieces, 5 dark pieces of teriyaki chicken on a bed of rice, salad and miso soup. The lunch was more enough for someone with a small appetite but it was perfectly sized for me. Everything tasted good. The sushi was fresh and the california rolls were made with real crab meat instead of the imitation crab that a lot of restaurants uses. If I had to say a bad thing to average out my review, I would say that I am more accustomed to a lighter batter on the tempura. But it’s all good and filling too.

And if you are looking for a great snorkel and scuba shop north of the Caribbean, drop in next door and see John at Caribbean Dream.

Wasabi Japanese Restaurant Ltd on Urbanspoon

Momo-yama the best for Chicken Teriyaki

Chicken Teriyaki

Chicken Teriyaki

Momo-yama is the still the best when it comes to Chicken Teriyaki. After a long day fighting the crowds at the zoo, we were starving for good sushi and a Sapporo beer.

Without reservations, we had to wait 20 minutes for a vacant table which was not bad on a Sunday night. We made a promise to the waitress to always make reservations for now on. It gets busy there, probably because of the good food and prices.

Clearly the best thing on the menu is the Teriyaki dishes. We’ve had the Salmon Teriyaki before which is always my wife’s favourite. Mine has always been the Chicken (pictured) which is grilled and sits on top of a bed of cabbage. The sauce is drizzled on and plenty of it too.

The chicken is cooked with the skin so that it stays nice and tender. I always remove it before eating it but occasionally, some of it goes down with rice. Oops. But it’s tasty and it won’t kill me. I just need to walk it off once dinner is done.

 

Samurai – Awesome Sashimi

Salmon Sashimi

Salmon Sashimi

After eating sashimi at Samurai on Fraser Street in Vancouver, I now know how a bear feels like on a salmon run. Samurai is an awesome place to eat sushi or sashimi. The fish is fresh and they give you plenty of it.

In a city where there’s more than 222 sushi bars, Vancouver is the place for sushi. Other than salmon and tuna, there is yellowtail, octopus, surf clam and other exotic fishes available year round.

Every time I’m in Vancouver, I have to make at least one stop at Samurai. My usual order consists of one salmon sashimi, one tako sashimi and a selection of rolls. Let me warn you that the rolls are really filling so take it easy on ordering too many if you are not going to share it with anyone. The beef teriyaki roll for instance, is tasty but it’s quite large for one.

For uni or sea urchin lovers, Samurai has a Uni sashimi dish. Uni is very high on cholesterol but very good for the advanced sushi go-ers. Given a plate of uni, I can devour it in a few minutes. Yum.

Other reviewers think this is more quantity than quality. I would have to disagree. I have never found a bone in my fish nor sent it back because it was not fresh. I recommend this place to all my Calgarian friends who visits Vancouver looking for fish to eat.

Samurai Sushi on Urbanspoon

Maruju Sushi – Reasonable Eatery

Maruju Sushi

Maruju Sushi

If you’re ok with Chinese sushi chefs and waitresses then you’ll be ok with Maruju Sushi on Centre Street, next to Starbucks. We’ve been coming here ever since and like their reasonable nigiri sushi prices, especially our favourites which includes salmon, sea stick, arctic surf clam and uni (when in season). Their rolls are a bit regular and not the flashy types that you find at some of the fusion restaurants in LA but sometimes, regular is ok and reasonable. We always order the Negi Toro roll because we enjoy tuna with green onions.

Maruju Sushi on Urbanspoon

Their hot dishes are generally good. I’ve had their BBQ Pork Ramen and the broth is really nice. This is the first ramen I’ve had with Chinese BBQ Pork but it’s a nice dish overall. I’ve had their curry dishes and they are good, but I wish they had more meat and potatoes in it. They have about five specials on their lunch menu, ranging from sushi to a lunch box. Look for the menu on a rolodex instead of on their menu.

The salmon pieces in the nigiri sushi are long and slender. It makes it hard to eat with the rice but I’m sure you can get creative eating it. I tend to eat the salmon by itself then chase it down with the rice.

There are a limited number of booths which are always occupied when we arrive. Make reservations if you want the privacy and experience inside the booth. I think there’s only three of them. There’s room at the sushi bar but their display of drinks take up all the counter space. Prices are reasonable making this place a favourable stop after work.

Misato – Bigger and Better

Misato new sushi bar

Misato new sushi bar

If you live near the Signal Hill area then you’re in luck. You too, can make Misato your second kitchen like us. Misato Japanese restaurant is one of the best on the hill, serving both sushi and teriyaki dishes. Recently renovated, Misato expanded their sushi bar and restaurant space to accommodate more guests.

Signature dishes include the infamous Calgary Roll which is huge and can serve as a hearty meal. It’s an inside out roll with lots of fish in it including salmon, tuna, crab meat, tobiko, shrimp and sea stick.  Avocado usually gets wrapped up inside but being I’m allergic to it so I ask for a cucumber substitute which they don’t mind replacing.

For the health conscious, ask for the low sodium soya sauce which they have behind the counter if you ask. Also, I recommend asking for a knife so that you can cut the Calgary Roll pieces in half for easier handling. It’s either that or you end up taking apart your roll and eating each fish separately. Our friend, Wayne ordered the fried smelt from the whiteboard menu but found it a bit fishy. He plans to avoid that next time. I ordered the Agedashi Tofu that came in a broth of its own, tasty and delicious. The dinner boxes are of great value and comes with tempura, miso soup, salad and ice cream. If you’re not that hungry, order the teriyaki chicken or beef from the la carte menu. They come with miso soup and a bowl of rice. The chicken or beef is served on top of a bed of sprouts.

Misato Sushi & Grill on Urbanspoon

There’s a lot of take-outs and reserved seating. They recommend reservations, especially on Friday nights and on the weekends. Misato is becoming the favourite place to eat on the hill.